Now in her third season with the Fort Collins Symphony, Mary A. Kopco is an accomplished executive director with over 38 years’ experience in the non-profit sector. During her tenure with the Symphony, she established the Wilfred Schwartz Archive by donating the organization’s extensive collection of records to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. She is an active partner collaborating to establish the B Sharp Arts Engagement program that provides people living with dementia and their caregivers with the opportunity to attend concerts and participate in a Colorado State University study aimed at measuring the impact the concerts have on quality of life. Mary Kopco is also actively engaged in building the organization’s financial reserves and endowment.
From 1995 until 2014, Mary Kopco transformed the Black Hills’ oldest history museum into a major cultural and award-winning organization. In 2000, she opened the Historic Adams House after a $1.5 million restoration of the 1892 Victorian mansion. Eleven years later, Mary Kopco founded the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center by establishing a research facility to protect the Black Hills’ most significant collection of original documents. In 2012, she helped create Deadwood History, Inc. by bringing together Deadwood, South Dakota’s main historical resources (Adams Museum, Historic Adams House, Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center and Days of ’76 Museum) under one administration.
Mary Kopco earned her Master of Arts in History from James Madison University, Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Emory and Henry College, Virginia. She is the author of The Adams House Revealed: The Restoration of a Historic Home. Mary Kopco has also written numerous articles that have been published in political and museum industry journals. In addition, she served as the editor of Beyond Mount Rushmore: Other Black Hills Faces, Adams A to Z, and Raiding Deadwood’s Bad Lands. She has been a frequent guest on the History Channel, A& E, Biography, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, and on HBO® Deadwood historical featurettes. Mary Kopco has received numerous awards including three Emmy certificates from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her contributions to the HBO® Deadwood series, the 2011 Mountain-Plains Museum Associations’ President’s Award, and the 2004 Nell Perrigoue Award for service to the community of Deadwood.
Mary Kopco is most enthusiastic about being involved in organizations that significantly improve quality of life. She is also an ardent advocate of using history as an instructive guide to navigate new ways forward. Mary Kopco believes her work at the Fort Collins Symphony successfully brings together these two passions.